East Meets South: A Renovated Historic Charleston Home

A couple fuses Asian style and Southern tradition to create a cozy getaway in the heart of downtown Charleston.

| May/June 2007

Like the fine handwoven textiles she markets, entrepreneur Eve Blossom’s life is imbued with many passions, including a strong environmental and social consciousness and a love of world cultures, particularly Southeast Asia’s. Her husband, Jon, a computer-game designer, shares Eve’s passions and enjoys wielding hammers and power tools during home improvement projects.  So the couple was more than up to the task of creating a sustainable home that blends their sophisticated, worldly tastes with the rich, traditional architecture of their historic Charleston, South Carolina, home.

Eve and Jon met in San Francisco and moved to Charleston six years ago. “We were looking for a city that was smaller than San Francisco, an easier place to live with high per capita culture,” Jon says of the couple’s decision to relocate. With a walkable downtown and the Spoleto Festival USA, an annual celebration of international performing arts, Charleston qualified on both counts. “We wanted attractive architecture, historic homes and no snow,” Eve says.

The Blossoms rented a house for the month of July to test the waters and see if they could bear the summer heat. By August they had bought a diminutive, 1,600-square-foot, 18th-century slave quarters looking out on a centuries-old cemetery. “At first, I was afraid Eve wouldn’t like the
cemetery,” Jon says, “but now we both see it as one of the best things about the house. It’s like having our own private park.”

Sheltered by the cemetery on one side, a private courtyard on another and a cobblestoned pedestrian alley on a third, the house feels secluded even though it’s in the bustling heart of Charleston’s historic downtown. “We’re two blocks from the water, near all these restaurants—and we can share a car,” Jon says. “Even so,” Eve says, “the house is a cottage-y, tucked-away kind of place. It’s a calm respite from the world.”

As the owner of Lulan Artisans—which sells high-end, handwoven silks, natural fabrics and decorative accents—Eve flies regularly to Southeast Asia to consult with weavers and artisans. Jon also travels frequently and works long hours. “As soon as you turn down the alley, it’s cool and quiet,” he says. “You’re in this oasis—no cars, no noises, trees everywhere and houses that haven’t changed for more than a century. There’s nothing to tell you it’s not 1800.”

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